Today's mood

सानू सौदा नहीं पुखदा, सानू सौदा नहीं पुखदा...

रवि तो चेनाब पुछदा,

"की हाल है सतलुज दा?"

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Do your parents trust you?

Throughout their lives, your parents have tried to domesticate you sometimes in the name of culture- what to wear and what to say, which religion to follow, what is good and what is bad; sometimes in terms of education- what to study and where to study; when you have grown up in terms of marriage- whom to marry and whom not to marry. This is a sophisticated form of slavery where emotions and love are used as a pretence to enslave children in bondages and fetters. Did not you see them as fetters before? It has been staring at your face since you started calling yourself independent and intelligent. You have already started feeling repulsed by the thought of someone calling your parents as cruel and proponents of slavery, haven't you? Such is the strong hold of these invisible iron chains that you are not even ready to entertain a thought that puts your parents in a bad light. Isn't it the sign of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it? I am not asking you accept what I have accepted as reality, all I am asking you is to entertain and understand how you are being enslaved. Acceptance is anyways not an easy thing; it is slow to reasoning and has a lag time from the point you have logically deduced the reality and integrated it as a part of your life.

Your parents in the last 40 years have built various mental boundaries and walls around themselves. Boundaries which they built to keep themselves safe and happy. Boundaries which over years of non-confrontation turned into beliefs. These beliefs are so deeply entrenched in parents that they involuntarily don't realise when they are limiting their children and their freedom while driven by a sheer stubbornness of protecting these beliefs. An example of boundary in the oriental world is caste, region and gotra system when it comes to marriages. In the occidental world, an example of boundary is materialism and individualism. A by-product of preservation of these beliefs means that you are never going to be trained to be free. How could they ever trust you with freedom? Because freedom for you would mean that you start breaking down the walls and boundaries and beliefs that your parents have created in their lifetime. Whenever there is an even a minute spark in you to break away these boundaries the interplay of guilt and shame mixed with love starts. Buried under this heavy mountain of “my parents have done so much for me” you decide to make choices that are convenient to hold their beliefs. What have you given up in exchange is- freedom! You are no more a rebel. You are have given up the desire to be ecstatic. You are content with whatever your parents beliefs system is, but there is a difference between content and ecstatic. You have settled for contentment and not ecstasy because ecstasy can only come through freedom- rest everything is a compromise.

Of course parents are not doing it voluntarily. Rather this practice of protecting beliefs has been so long and transcended so many generations that they don’t see the distinction between what is right and what they are doing. Human mind has invested time, effort and surely a good number of neurons in convincing itself that "a belief" is the tested method of staying happy and safe. Over time the handicapped mind cannot differentiate what is belief and what is truth (or right). Since your parents have imprisoned their own mind they cannot teach you how to be free. Fetters are always going to be there. People are always going to have opinions based on beliefs. People are always going to stay divided because they cannot accept the breaking of the walls they have cocooned themselves in. Your parents are people too, they are bound by the same laws of mind which is applicable to you and me. Sorry but unfortunately true, parents no more teach their children to be absolutely free. They cannot do it.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Hunt

It was raining cats and dogs but the old man was not afraid. The old man didn't bat an eyelid to the rain, he was hardly moved by the chill that accompanied the rain and the thunder in the backdrop. He had seen too many winter rains to count. Few were better than the others, but in the end all of them were melancholic and filled the emptiness inside his heart with more sadness. The ferocity of the clouds had forced the sun to take an early leave today. Slowly the greyish tower, standing taller than the nearby trees would disappear in the engulfing darkness. Birds which occasionally used to perch on the tip of the tower had abandoned the resting place for an early retreat- probably the weather compelled them. The old man was sad. The rain did the task of causing a hairline crack to the embankment of the dam he was trying to build to encompass his grief. He was sad because his wife had died a couple of years ago. He was sad because his children had decided to migrate to cities; and he was sad because the eyes of the doe haunted him today.

The man was a hunter before he decided to hang his boots. His days when he was in profession were similar to any other hunter’s. Sometimes the darling woods was kind and granted gifts from her womb and sometimes she was miser and the only thing he managed to get out of her were his blunted arrows. When he was young and he had a tough luck in the trees he abused the lady, but as he grew older he realised she was kind. It threw tantrums only when things were out of her control. When he got married he was in his early twenties. The day he used to catch a rare game he brought it to his wife to impress her rather than taking it to the market and getting a hefty price for it. As the family size increased the rare animals he hunted found themselves being traded over the bargaining counter of the butcher shop, and feasts got rarer than blue moon. Another two decades passed in which his two girls were married, his three sons grew up to become fine boys- one of them joined him for hunting expeditions, one decided to work with the mason from the village and one was killed in war.
Images of the past diffused in front of his closed eyes. On that particular day he woke up at four in the morning, touched the floor, thanking the stars and the gods for the wonderful morning, washed his face in water that was cold- more so on account of the freezing temperature outside. The chill of the water made sure that every semi-sleeping neuron of his brain was awake in a snap. He had a brief look at his wife. How lovely and graceful she was even in her sleep! It felt it had been days ago, rather than years, that he married a smart girl from the other side of the village. He picked up his quiver, dozen sharpened arrows, his bow and a sharp long knife. His son was away to the city with annual gifts for his sisters. He had to hunt alone today. He would have loved if his son would have accompanied him. Hunting alone meant too much of time to himself, too much of talking to himself and too much of listening to his own thoughts. He didn't like listening to his own thoughts. He wasn't a philosopher rather a man of actions.

By the time the sun rose he had cleared the sparsely spread trees and was navigating through the trees with thicker trunks and whose leaves on the top touched each other forming a canopy of leaves. Light filtered through the canopy of lush green leaves to light the grass and weed growth on the ground. There was hardly any sound around him. The breeze hardly managed to reach these parts of the forest, and various birds were hardly in their homes. The grass wasn't as beautiful and long as the Prairies his son used to retell, and the growth was marked by a faint trail made by villagers. He expected to be in the clear where wild life flourishes in another half an hour.

When he came out in the open he looked at the sky. The Sun was in its proper place, the sky was blue and it looked like a fine day with no traces of rain. He could see the horizon without having to strain his eyes, there was a patch of green somewhere in middle where the lake was located. Animals used to spend their mornings around the water body and it was where he wanted to go.
He started the walk wondering if he could catch a rabbit for dinner, if Lahkesis, Atropos and Clotho favoured him he could catch an antler deer; the traders would pay him 100 gold coins for a rare white deer. By the time he reached the lake he was sweating. He took out his water bottle, made of camel skin, and took two small sips to quench his thirst. He had sufficient water to last him the day.

Orion, the hunter, stood silently leaning against a tree waiting, listening and watching. The land beneath his feet was soft, probably it had rained a couple of days ago in this part of the land, truant of nature. He was intently watching and praying at the same time when with a flash of brown a deer revealed himself ambling slowly towards the lake to drink from it. The sight of the deer brought a smile on his face. He deftly and quietly drew an arrow from his quiver. He took a long breath, strung his bow, stretched himself and aimed as precisely he could. With a mute prayer on his lips, he let the arrow go.  He saw the arrow trace the distance in a flash and strike the deer in his lung. He jumped in air seeing the fruit of his effort. The deer would easily fetch him 50 gold coins without a bargain, if the trader was happy he could even give him 75. The deer gave out a sharp cry of pain, and leaped towards the trees.

Orion removed his dagger from his pouch, with the sun teasing him on his back he started tracing the blood droplets.  What he saw next moved him.

The deer was lying in a small clearing underneath a banyan tree. A doe was sitting next to him, wiping his blood with her long drawn out tongue. The tongue was deep red in colour on account of the blood. He started approaching the deer with the intention of ending the pain of the poor creature. As he was couple of yards away from the deer, the doe startled him. In a flurry of moment she stood on her legs. Without any hesitation she placed herself between the deer and Orion. Her big bulging pitch black eyes met the eyes of Orion. There was unflinching bravery in those eyes. She gave a shriek- a shriek mingled with sadness, anger and loss in it to make the whole world cry. She made a run towards Orion. The hunter was so taken aback by the sudden movements of the doe that he took a couple of step backwards and stumbled on the ground. The doe stopped in midway and gave a look that till this day torments Orion. The glare was a window to her heart. Her eyes was home to an agony. Any heart to reside such an agony is a pity! The doe was angry and sad. Angry that her tenderness and mercy did not allow her to kill the hunter and sad because she knew the inevitable. Her eyelashes were moist with tears and the skin around her eyes was dark grey because it was wet. It only occurs when you lose something you love more than yourself. I doubt anyone dared to love anyone that much. The doe traversed back to her love.

The deer looked at the doe with a hope as he gasped his last breath. The vulnerable eyes had hope in them- hope that she will charm some miracle out of thin air. The doe, with tears rolling from her unblinking eyes, sat close to the deer. The hunter stood with his bow fallen somewhere close to his feet. It really didn't matter. The deer took a last gulp of air and fell on the ground motionless. The doe lost everything that day.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Long ago when the span of Universe was measured in terms of kilometers rather than light years the Earth and the Sun existed close by. They were different than what you see them today; they could touch each other. Sun was soothing- a ball of light, rather than a furious, incinerating piece of fire as perceived today. He was milder, warmer and comfortable; the Earth was more beautiful than what you see her now. Both were young and just freshly out of the Creator’s hands. Immortal time is the sole observer and detail keeper of the magnanimity of the events that occurred. It keeps track of all activities from birth till death. It narrates:

“Ever thy, in future you feel,
The touch of ice on hot steel,
The smell of first rain,
The dangling of heart in pure pain;
When you feel the pangs of heart,
Hitting alike multiple poisoned dart,
Always recall the Sun’s love
The cringe of pain of its beloved dove!”

The Sun had deeply fallen in love with the Earth, and the Earth felt no different for the Sun. All other gods and demi-gods used to say, “Who is more beautiful than the lovely Earth and who is more charming than the bright Sun?” They were the perfect match God had ever created, or would ever create in future. Together the Earth and the Sun dreamed. They dreamed of spending time till eternity in each others’ arms.

“No day and no night existed,
All that existed was love;
All that existed were dreams,
All that existed were undefined realms.
They loved with a zeal unknown
They loved with a passion unseen.
Where love blossoms is a tender heart
Cruel is heart that does them apart!

In the upper realm of existence Gods existed before the Earth and the Sun were created. In fact, Gods are the one who created the Earth and the Sun. They are the one who are more powerful and more ambitious than the love-struck birds. The Gods counseled and dreamt of a “bigger dream”, they dreamt human, dreamt to see million species falling in love, dreamt of million species praying, dreamt of million species struggling with life, struggling with emotions and riches and rotting in death to oblivion. The poor Earth and the poor Sun on the contrary had no high flaunting ambitions. They just had dreams; beautiful, idyllic dreams of lying in each others’ presence till eternity. In Gods eyes, creation of the Earth and the Sun was just a tool- a tool to fulfill their so called “bigger dream”. Future is the prerogative of the Gods, and Gods are the ones who wield power to create, destroy, and annihilate; who seeks the opinions of mere tools? The tools are akin to pawns that are meant to be sacrificed for the greater good.

In a place, as small as the Universe back then, words travelled fast. The ambitions of higher powers troubled the Earth dearly. One fine moment, when the Earth was basking in the warmth of the Sun, and the Sun was cheerfully enjoying the Earth, she said, “What is going to happen my love? Will you leave me alone? The mighty darkness of the Universe is expanding and it will succumb me into its oblivion. ”

The tensed Sun replied in a distressed voice, a voice that carried the apprehensions of his heart but a voice that was brave to speak the truth, “if my words carry any weight in your life then stay assured; never has the Sun loved anyone as dearly as the Earth and never in future he shall ever fall in love. I won’t let you fall into darkness, even if I have to burn every nook and corner of the Universe to cipher. ”

The Sun went to the Gods, and was asked to be the centre of the Solar System. The gods had planned him to be the harbinger and centre of life. Hearts in love desire no power, and no glory. The Sun was the first heart to be broken in the events of mankind.

The Earth cried and huge tears dropped from her eyes. Over the span of time, many tears went aloft, many got consumed by the vastness of the ever expanding Universe; however one tear still remains clear in the sky. Every night the Earth’s children see the tear, the Earth shed for its beloved, and call it the beautiful Moon. It is derived from the Earth’s ‘Moan’. There are moments when the Earth loses control and bursts to release the pain welling up inside it and the insensitive man calls volcanoes beautiful. If pain is beautiful then why is to unbearable?

The Sun, ever since, burns in agony. He burns to keep the Earth alight and to prevent hert from falling into oblivion.  The jewel that dropped from Earth’s eyes finds itself beautiful just by receiving the minimum share of his agony possible. The bodies closer to him- the Mercury and the Venus scathe in the agony of the ever burning, ever crying, ever cringing Sun.

The Earth cried for days and nights
The Sun burned in agony and pain.
What the Gods thought is not my thought,
What the Gods did should not be the work of Gods!

[It was removed from the blog for a few months, however it ends up being back!]

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The sea beneath the island…


Burnt out the ends of a lethargic day,
The very essence of a cold morning
Another street lamp dies, yet another dawn awakes…

Azure sky silhouetted against the ruddy horizon
Seeking to be admired, longing to be cherished,
Yet the slumber veils her desire to bask in its very essence…

With bleary and dazed eyes she would awaken to see,
A car snaking its way through the stifling streets,
Oblivious to the magnificence of a beautiful morning,

Gone are the rare mornings which flaunted at their exquisiteness,
The hailstorms which fell like tossed cotton now seem like a deception,
No longer does the wind tussle with her locks…

Draped in an exquisite attire,
She now romances the brands,
Her desires now ride on winged surprises…

Yet she longs to muck around in the mud,
Dance her wits out in the rain,
Take a stroll through a silent street…

All she has now is a longing to reach out to her native self,
A wish to be embraced by her lover
And a vision to run wild ahead of the feisty horses.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Is charity the simple way out?

I am at District City Centre-1, Kolkata, and I don’t think any well read, modern day Indian needs a description of what Kolkata is. Rabindranath, and Sarat Chandra have already filled libraries on this city, or rather I must say what they have written is Kolkata these days. It is difficult to state with confidence whether their work inspired modern day Kolkata, or they were good in predicting where Kolkata was moving towards, either ways it is unambiguously and rightly credited as the cultural hub of India. I am looking for a way out of the second floor, and I sight a counter of an already closed kiosk. The red painted counter has two angelic kids sitting on it, most probably siblings by looks, and rhyming off “twinkle-twinkle little star”. I will make sure my kids sing twinkle-twinkle under “a little star” not in a mall where artificial stars are costlier than planetarium visits. The kids are sweet nevertheless and their father is standing a few feet away with a camera capturing moments, a doting father indeed. A ten year old girl, whose clothes could neither be categorized as shabby nor torn, stood a few feet far and out of the frame of the snap. She was either the house-help’s daughter or the house-help herself. I stood there with a poignant heart trying to take in the disparity of the snap my eyes had taken. One one hand I saw two kids, leading the most comfortable of all life, access to modern entertainment, access to new clothes, fulfillment of desires faster than they breath, and on the other hand I could see a ten year old girl, give or take a few years, looking at the siblings and immersed in a deep thought with eyes that showed a desire, an incessant desire to be there where the fortunate siblings were.

My chain of thoughts was broken by the following sentence, “There is nothing that you can do!” It was a feminine voice and an accent that gave away the speaker to be a well-read individual. I turned around, and faced a complete stranger who just a few moments ago had judged what was going on in my half kilogram brain. She had big prominent eyes common to majority of Bengali girls, a nose which was close to a smooth slide from the pince-nez to the tip; it wasn’t bulging at the tip; she wore spectacles whose power was difficult to guess in the dimply lit space that I stood.

“Excuse me!” I wasn’t exactly sure, and to confirm that she commented on what I thought she commented, then I needed to explicitly hear it from her very mouth.

“There is nothing you can do to help the standing small girl, with an innocuous desire in her eyes, beside the counter. The people who can really do something are busy filling lockers even at the cost of coffins, the rest are just a part of the problem.” There was no sarcasm in her voice rather as if what she spoke was an universal law, a law as unshakable as the constants of physics.

“There is something that can be done- something, anything. There are NGOs, Child Care institutes,Child Labor law someone can help her.”

She gave a sarcastic smile, a smile that made you feel a fool. “People like you, and I mean the majority of people, are too easy to be moved by extreme poverty, by hideous ugliness, by extreme starvation. It is but inevitable not to be moved by them. However the problem is, emotions of man are stirred more quickly than man’s intelligence; and it is much easier to have sympathy with suffering than sympathy with thought. Accordingly, with admirable, though misdirected intentions, the NGOs very seriously and very sentimentally set themselves to the task of remedying the evils that they see. But their remedies do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it. Indeed, their remedies are a part of the disease.”

What was she saying? Her words came to me as someone was waking me from a dream by slapping me hard on my face. She belonged to a different world, not to this mortal world. All my brain could comprehend was she had an opinion on no good coming out of the immense altruism and philanthropy that the world-over people do. I had not accepted her opinion as of yet.

Before I could cut her short by stating I don’t agree with you, she went on, “You might share a different opinion of stating the NGOs are trying to change things. Well statistically the charity doers have been trying to change things since money was invented. They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by putting that small girl in some school. With a drunkard or a dead father, with an ageing, physically diseased or bed-ridden mother at home, putting her in school is called- amusing the poor. With children dying at mid-day schools being news not even worth noticing what the NGO does is not a solution: it is an aggravation of the difficulty. The proper aim must be as a reconstruction of the society such that existence of poverty is impossible- that is kindness. Sympathy givers and charity workers are like the slave owners of erstwhile USA, who were kind to their slaves. The kindness made the slaves thank their stars for being bought by a kind family, and prevented them from revolting and helping the educated and egalitarian men like Lincoln and Thaddeus Stevens. Charity delays the solution.”

Her words left me confused, and with nothing to say. She just in a few moments had denied, debated and convinced me the uselessness of charity; and a few moments ago sympathy and pity was the feeling that I had. “So all in all charity is wrong?”

“Yes. Charity done when moved by sympathy is wrong. Charity in a broader sense must be a step towards solution. Your sympathy is just a way of making you feel bad. If sympathy stirred intelligence rather than emotions we would be seeing a governess instead of a child-labor here.”

Her phone rang and she excused herself by saying that her colleague is waiting near the fountain. We exchanged numbers; however I am not sure I am going to call her. She was one amongst us who could see the world without a veil. She understood that we are just running at the same spot, and tiring ourselves out. Probably, I won’t donate someone a ten-rupee note the next time, however what is the solution to it? Being moved by charity is not a detrimental thing, however when that charity doesn't lead the society anywhere, what is the worth of such a charity? Or is charity an excuse out of a complex problem that we are incapable of solving?

Friday, May 10, 2013

The harsh winters

“Dad, what is first love like?” A thirty year old beleaguered Rahul enquired to his sixty year old father, Manish. In the last twenty four hours the thirty year old Rahul had aged by decades and sixty year old Manish had just withered to a frail old weakling.

The old man, his hair silvered by age and experience, closed his eyes for a good part of the minute that ensued. He was formulating a beautiful and soothing reply to his son’s question. “Drown your face in a bucket of water for a minute. First love is like the first gulp of air after that. You can virtually feel every molecule of air passing through your nostrils, engulfing your lungs and speeding relief throughout your body. Elongate this sensation to an eternity that is how I felt when I met your mom.”

“And what was the loss like when mom died?” On a normal day, at a normal hour, at a normal moment this question would have been awkward and out of place- however not now. They were sitting in a hospital.

“It is the most bitter feeling of my life. The taste is still fresh in my senses as if it was yesterday. It felt as if half of my brain had died. Along with my brain, my body was succumbing to an unknown and fathomless pit of which there was no way out. A darkness which creeps out the daylights of any happy man, I was falling into such a pit; and worth mentioning remarkable part is I wanted to be wholly consumed by it. I wanted to be overlapped by it to the tiniest measure of my hair. She left a hole in my soul which nothing and no-one from this universe can fill.” Manish’s frowned forehead revealed multiple wrinkles. There was a palpable sadness etched on his face. The sadness was contagious and seemed to radiate with a high lethal intensity. Even a blind man could sense the grief his face radiated.

“How did you survive after she died?”

“You made me survive son. You had her eyes- the black jet eyes, the prominent chin. You reminded me of her every moment. You reminded me of how much I loved her eyes. You reminded me of what I had loved and how that love was not transient. My love for your mother and her love for me came back to me through you. I don’t picture myself surviving if you hadn’t been there.” Manish took a long look at his son. His eyes were moist and just on the verge of overflowing. A slight nudge from somewhere and he would have wept.

The doctor clad in light green robes came out of the operation theatre. Her face bore signs of tiredness, as if she had just fought a long battle, and marks of grief; it was a battle against fate “Mr. Rahul you are the father of a sweet, beautiful girl.” She spoke with a fake smile that didn't reach her eyes.

“And what about my daughter, doctor?” Manish sat on the verge of his chair. He could sense the foreboding which the doctor was trying to camouflage.

“We are sorry sir, we could not save her. There were complications and there had been a lot of bleeding. We tried our best yet we couldn't revive her.”

The old man knew what the bad news was going to be. Yet he was hoping for some miracle to occur. He had hoped for a similar miracle when Trisha had died. He had hoped against hope the last time and this time. For the last hour he had been replaying this conversation with different result, only wishing the versions he played in his mind might turn out to be real. He accepted the news with no reaction on his face. The old man slowly retrieved himself from the chair on which he had been sitting. Tiptoed to the room adjacent to the Operation Theater where the dead mother and the new born had been temporarily shifted. Manish wanted to sit down and console his son, however from an old and sad experience he knew better. He knew that at such moment one can simply show the door to Rahul, it was he who had to walk past that door. No matter how much painful and hurtful it was going to be, he had to walk through it. He did walk through when Trisha died, Rahul will too. He had not yet lost faith.
Manish went inside the room and took a good look at his grand-daughter. She had her mother’s cheeks and was sleeping with her eyes closed akin to petals on a delicate rose bud. She looked beautiful and at peace, unaware of how her world had recently shattered. Manish dragged his feet from the incubator to the bed where her daughter-in-law lay in a different type of peace and in a different type of sleep.

Old memories started flooding in. The day she had come to his house for the first time with Rahul; the day she married Rahul and entered his house as the bride; the day she  tried cooking for the first time and over-cooked the dal. His lips parted to reveal a small smile. “It is a torture to see your children die before your own eyes. You were the daughter I never had. May you rest in peace my daughter.” He kissed her forehead and slowly walked outside.

Rahul was sitting at the same position dejected and lost in thoughts. Manish occupied the empty seat beside his son. Neither the father nor the son spoke for the next quarter hour. Finally, Rahul broke the silence, “how does she look?”

“Just like her mother. Bright, beautiful and lovely.”

Suddenly, as if all dams binding the emotions broke down. Out of the blue some electromagnetic spark transpired between the father-son duo. Manish and Rahul both started crying.

Note from the writer: The winters are harsh on all. They may not be fair to all. Regardless of how harsh the winters are, they cannot stop the spring from coming. Flowers do bloom when the spring comes. People are meant to be loved, and people are meant to be mourned. No one is immortal neither me nor my loved ones, despite how fondly we bind ourselves to them. People after a certain time do move on to a different world. Rahul's wife did, Trisha did, someday Manish will too. What shall remain is a brief memory of an over-cooked dal. A thing of beauty is indeed a joy forever.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Point 5203

“Amol! If you don’t come out I am going to stop talking to you.”  A flustered Usha tired of her son’s tantrums sat on the bed. She spoke the name Amol with an elongated ‘o’. Her one hand had a small plate with chapatti and dal in it, her other hand was being frantically used either to brush off her hair out of her eyes or to search for Amol.

The seven year old Amol came out of his hiding. He was hiding under an iron chair that was overstuffed with clothes that had been washed today. His sweet voice was enough to melt any heart, here we are talking about a mother’s heart- it was liquidized. “I am sorry mumma. Don’t say I won’t talk to you anymore.”

The middle aged woman, mother of two brothers Aman and Amol, had moist eyes. She started feeding the young Amol with her own hands. His mouth was over-stuffed with food. “Amol take the last morsel and I won’t feed you till night.”

“Make me a promise that you won’t cry when I don’t come out of hiding?” The sweet young-ling had a few tricks up his sleeves. He found his mother's tears an emotional torture that rips his peace and happiness apart.

“Ok. Pakkaa.”, with a smile on her face Usha fed the last morsel to Amol.


“Mumma, I want to go to NDA. Dada also went to join the Air Force right? Why are you stopping me?” Amol was having a difficult time make his mother bringing her round to his views. Amol wanted to join the Defence Academy and his mother was antagonistic to the idea. 

“No. You won’t. I do not want to send both of my sons away from me. You have cleared the engineering entrance get a good college and study. I want you to stay close to me. Your dada will be away fighting for his ideals and his country, at least I will have you with me.” Usha was in no mood to listen to any of her son’s point.

“Mumaa, dada is happy and papa is supportive of my decision too.” The teenage youngster looked at Aman, his elder brother, and his father S. P. Sharma for some support.

“Don’t either of you dare to come in between me and my son there won’t be anyone worse than me!” Usha threatened both Satpal and Aman with a lethal expression. The look was a stare down even for a roaring lion. Aman who had just raised his hand to support Amol, quickly crashed his hands onto his laps. Satpal and Aman shared a quick glance at each other and remained seated at their positions quitely. “In case anyone of you want to eat, the food will be served in fifteen minutes. I am not going to ask a second time.”

Late in the night when everyone had retired to their rooms Satpal stroked Usha's forehead and uttered, “Let the child make his own path. If he wants to join the army why should we stop him? He won’t go unless you give him the permission, you know right?”

Usha started crying and after a few words of consolation Satpal fell asleep; Usha cried for a long time. When Satpal woke up in the morning Usha was no where in sight. Satpal went to the children’s room to see Usha sleeping peacefully on Amol’s bed. Satpal’s lips parted to reveal a highly content smile.


The 300 plus bodies of flesh and blood who took their first step in 1991 are marching to the “antim pagh” of the National Defence Academy. Today Usha looks at the finest men of the Indian population; even calling them the finest men on this planet won’t be a stretched truth. Three years ago the 300 bodies of flesh and bones made a decision and crossed the first step into the academy that teaches them everything life has to offer. These three years have prepared them for anything and everything that life may throw upon them. These gentlemen are a symbol of honor and pride - the virtues which lasts longer than any other mortal attribute. Among st such glorious men Usha's eyes are riveted on her son.

A proud Usha Sharma pins the stars on her son’s uniform. She has moist eyes. “You know right this mess serves the best food you will find in the whole of the world?” Amol said with a smile on his face on seeing the hidden tiffin in her mother’s bag. “However extra food is always welcome!” 


A disturbed Aman was on the line, “I heard you are being posted to Siachen. Is that true?”

Amol replied back with a hint of surprise in his tone, “Really? How come these fellow know where I want to go? ”

“Stop kidding Amol. You know that mother won’t take the news lightly. Given her affection for you, I expect a bit of tears and surely a tantrum.”

“You wish she threw the same affection towards you, right? Don’t worry and don’t tell her where I am posted. I will give her a call once in two weeks to let her know I am fine.”


Siachen is a not a place, at least not a place as we mention in common terminology. It is a part of the 2 trillion cubic volume of frozen water. It is a pole itself in “the third pole”. It is the highest battleground on earth, and the elemental forces of nature are the harshest that mankind shall ever endure and still live. After three weeks of acclimatization at the Siachen Battle School Amol made way for the Siachen Glacier. He was scheduled to stay there for 90 days, and regardless of what his relatives and parents said he didn't withdraw his name from the Siachen posting.

On the 82nd day he was asked to extend his stay by a month, to which he readily agreed. Look from a common and basic point of view, what is there at 7000mt height apart from kilometers and kilometers of solid ice; a week in Siachen and your eyes will long for any color apart from white. A 90 day stay is sufficient for you to start hating the most serene of all colors, yet here we have a gentleman who extended his stay on this barren land for another 30 days.

On his last day another soldier named Sahil asked Amol, “Sir, what made you stay here for another 30 days?”

“Siachen is no ordinary place. It may be different geographically than the rest of the places on earth where military serves, however no other place makes you feel special. Siachen is a place where only men of steel volunteer to serve and when you leave this place you feel as if there is no one equal to your standards in the whole of nation. You walk the whole territory of the Indian country with your held high and an expression that you are an emperor. 30 extra days of an emperor are welcome Sahil!”


Aman and Amol had come to their parents place to spend their holidays. Every year both of the brothers used to apply for holidays at the same time in the month of may.

On 16th of may, 1999 the land-line at their house rang the person on the other side asked for Aman. Aman was asked to report immediately to the air force base.

Minutes later the land-line rang again to ask for Amol. He was being asked to report to Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir, instead of Delhi.

The rest of the evening was drained in murmurs and chatter of what had happened and what was about to happen. Usha had a flying feeling that this is going to be a long lasting memory for her. She cooked up the favorite sweet of both brothers. The next morning both the brothers woke early and started for their destinations.


The last twenty days have been nothing less than hell for Amol. There hasn't been a moments peace in the valley to be experienced. Everyday new news used to pour in- either the news regarding new posts that have been discovered under the Pakistan’s control or colleagues who died fighting for one of the decimal numbers. Amol hurriedly finished his letter to his mother, “Don't worry about me. I hope to be back in Delhi by the end of this month. Then you can fix my marriage in case you all are in a hurry.


June 10, 1999

Captain Amol Kalia, along with 13 of his men started for the mission of freeing point 5203. Amol Kalia was specially called from Delhi on account of his in-depth knowledge and experience of mountain warfare.

Indian army was battling on various fronts inside the valley. The nation’s attention was held by the fighting in the Drass sector, however the heavily entrenched Pakistani forces on the tougher terrain of Batalik was turning out to be a grave for the Indian soldiers. Climbing already occupied peaks by enemy forces in Batalik is like standing in no mans land and shouting anti-pakistan slogans. Bullets slip by your ears and legs only to hit you somewhere in the chest; do the physics and add to those bullets a few more speed when they are being fired from 16000+ feet height.

Point 5203 was a military post in the Batalik sector. The soldiers of the northern infantry of Pakistan sat on the top of this ice clad peak. The 14 Indian soldiers of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry led by Amol Kalia ascended the peak in the dead of the night to face a pack of well hidden, bunker-ed and armored 25 soldiers. What are the odds? When you deal with brave rare human you don’t look up to statistics, here we are talking of the rarest of the rare human.

Despite the well entrenched enemies, the 12 infantry team holed the 25 odd soldiers in their bunkers. For how long could they do that was the question? The light machine gun detachment personnel to Amol died in the wee hours of 11th june. Kalia picked up the machine gun and opened fire on the enemy bunkers as Hollywood movies often show. A desperate hero surrounded by enemy picks up a machine gun lying on the floor to open fire on anyone and everyone. The only difference being here people do die when hit by these bullets. Kalia himself shot five men with the LMG before succumbing to his injuries and falling dead. 

Neither of the 14 men survived the bullets, nor did the 25 Pakistani men. Point 5203 was finally captured at the cost of 14 Indian lives, and by taking 25 Pakistani lives. 

Usha didn’t cry when she received the news of her dead son. She didn’t speak a word for the next 11 days. She hardly ate, she hardly drank and she hardly cried. On 21st june, 1999 when Amol’s body was handed over to his family Usha broke down. Wars are fought by warriors, and tears are shed by their mothers.

“I promised you son when you go into hiding I won’t cry, and when you have returned…” the rest of the line was drowned by her cries. The near by families were overwhelmed by Usha's grief. No mother has ever been so distressed, no father has ever been so proud and no sibling has ever been so lonely.

Satpal amidst tears in his own eyes bends over to retrieve a hand written piece of paper from Amol Kalia’s bullet holed dress- “Mother India doesn't want cowards.” When Amol was born little did this history teacher knew, that one day his son would fill up the pages of history. The way he lived; the way he died; the way he is immortal even in death is an indelible truth in itself.